Decision Making Approach

Please Click On The Bar To Download The Next Section

Introduction to Decision Making

Approach provides a framework for engaging others in common work. Without clarity about approach, mutual work becomes impossible. Convergent decision-making eliminates and prioritizes options in a limited time frame to promote a sense of progress. Divergent decision-makers create more satisfaction by coming up with new ideas and testing everything possible to find the best one. Convergent decision-making maximizes results in a timeframe; divergent decision-making maximizes results based on a spatial framework of inter-related ideas. The more we understand Convergent and Divergent approaches, the greater our capacity to separate ourselves from our personal preferences and actually accomplish what is needed based on the best approach given the current problem.

Convergent Decision-Makers reduce the scope of the project so that they can take action quickly. This is an incremental approach that allows Convergent individuals to feel that they are always making progress. Our natural focus is to scope out what can be done now, so we can implement cleanly and build on incremental results. Since our focus is to quickly eliminate options that do not fit our criteria, we tend to distrust outside input that seems to have no immediately apparent contribution. We measure our performance more by how fast we produce results rather than whether or not the results are the best. We like to get all the details quickly and will immediately act if the details satisfy the criteria we have for the decision. Usually we test others as to their effectiveness in supporting our decision-making process by giving them tasks where we measure the effectiveness of their response. What we are seeking is consistent, fast turn around and task oriented results. This means we want to eliminate the unpredictability of extraneous people in the process. We appreciate it when others can help us reduce options because we seek to get to the bottom line quickly. Usually if we are not ready to make a decision, we want to know how quickly we can have the purchase when we are ready. This is because time is important to us and we will hold others accountable to the time frames they give us.

Divergent Decision-Makers explore all the options, waiting until they know that they have found the best choice. This is an all-or-nothing approach that allows Divergent individuals to organize their energy and effort around a worthy choice. We are seeking the ultimate best decision because we do not want to deal with short-term incremental approaches that minimize the big picture. We measure our effectiveness by how completely we have defined what we really need, so we do not have to revisit the situation soon. Naturally we love decision-making processes when we have an open timeframe that allows us to expand our scope to make the best choices overall. It is difficult for us to imagine that others will understand our criteria for the decision and therefore be able to respond to us in a clean, supportive way. This does not keep us from asking our friends, business associates or partners for their input or ideas to make sure we are not missing something in the decision-making process. It does keep us from making the choice blindly based on the word of someone with no stake in the decision. In such a situation we would rather not make a decision than to make the wrong decision. For us to take action everything has to line up. We love researching choices. We also enjoy making sure the choice will make a positive impact on our life. While we may be seen by others as being procrastinators and “time-wasters,” when we make a choice, we are actually totally committed to it.

When individuals have the same Approach, decision-making can be easy for them. Unfortunately, many people make decisions on a Content sensitive basis. In other words, they develop confidence about making decisions in certain ways in certain situations. What makes this even more difficult is that many of us are trained to do our decision-making the way our parents wanted us to do it. This creates confusion when what we believe is the right way to make a decision is always frustrating. Until we get to a point where we can honor our own choices and get in flow with ourselves, it is impossible to align with others in a decision-making process. We keep falling into the trap of believing what we should do, which may really be compromising our ability to be ourselves fully and to engage others fully. The more we understand different decision-making Approaches, the more quickly we can neutralize our differences and Co-Create common solutions.

Divergent Decision-Making Imprinting mandates that we should be open and flexible in all decision-making processes. Sometimes it can be taken to extremes by not being willing to discuss options until everyone is present or until we are all in consensus. While we are frustrated when others do not perceive that we are attempting to work with them, we appreciate that this gives us more time to figure out what we want. Since we are fearful about losing our passion if we over-organize things, we want others to appreciate how we try to keep our options open to be more inclusive of them. In this way we try to be a mediator or peacekeeper so that the decision-making process is open and available to others. What we seek is for others to acknowledge that we have their interest at heart and that we want to create the most powerful solution for all. We are most satisfied when others believe the process is fair, which ironically usually means compromised equally for everyone.

We also could have Variable Decision-Making Imprinting, particularly when we needed to be peacemakers between different decision-making style parents. Variable Decision-Making Imprinting mandates that we should have an optimum mix of both convergent and divergent decision-making practices. Therefore, we try to balance our focused, “eliminate as many options upfront” approach with the unfocused, “give ourselves as much time as we need” approach. This makes us extremely sensitive to the expectations and beliefs of others. As a result, we end up over-negotiating and including others even when it is not necessary. What we seek is for others to appreciate our flexibility and capability in making things happen in a way that serves everyone. We are satisfied when decisions are made without a lot of pressure, force or anxiety. Ironically, it puts a lot of pressure on us, and results in inner anxiety.

Our decision-making approach is how we structure problem-solving. Some individuals focus, prioritize   and make decisions within a pre-established timeframe for immediate action - we call this Convergent. Others, at the opposite end, want to reflect, explore options without a pre-established structure for long-term results - we call this Divergent. Still others like an optimum balance between Convergent and Divergent approaches. They let circumstance dictate the approach – we call this Switchable.

The potential for decision-making effectiveness is significantly expanded when we all realize that Convergent and Divergent approaches are equally powerful and valid. Problems occur when people do not have an understanding of the full range of natural decision-making approaches that can work in the situation. In other words, they become focused on their way of doing things (being right) and do not accept that others could accomplish things just as effectively by doing them differently.

When we insist others make decisions the way we do, despite their natural process, we create distrust and stress. By denying the other’s legitimate point of view, we intensify the conflict with them. We create situations where people are not heard or recognized for their perspective. This ultimately encourages avoidance behavior.

When others do not appreciate the unique approaches of their associates, they spend energy positioning and arguing about the way to solve problems rather than co-creating as a group. Individuals feel frustrated and stressed – they become cynical about group gatherings and lose confidence in their own and other’s ability to produce the desired results. When this happens, individuals find other ways to get what they want – usually by more covert and political means.

While this factor can show up differently in various parts of our life, we are usually naturally Convergent (meaning focused or prioritized toward immediate action), Divergent (meaning unfocused and open to exploring all options until the best become obvious) or Switchable (meaning we respond or react based on what others do or expect). For some, this compatibility factor is difficult to identify within ourselves because of contradictory beliefs set in place by imprinting.

Fortunately, it is possible to develop appreciation for decision-making approaches – both our own natural approach and the approach of others. This provides the context for mutual contribution and expanded creativity. Team members experience fulfillment and accomplishment because of their work together – and solutions are far better than any one individual could have developed on their own. This would be called a win-win decision-making process.

Summary : The Decision-making Approach provides a framework for engaging others in common work; without clarity about approach, mutual work and problem-solving becomes impossible and stagnation or unilateral actions result. Decision-Making Approach reflects a choice on the continuum between being Divergent or researching options to find the best, long-term solution, and being Convergent or taking immediate action to get something done. The more conscious we are about decision-making approach, the more we take other’s patterns and the situation itself into account before define how we will decide something.

Decision-Making Approach, reflects the choice between taking immediate action to get something done or researching options to find the best, long-term solution. While this factor is Context sensitive, meaning that it can show up differently in various parts of our life (work, relationships, individual creative focus) we are usually either naturally Convergent or Divergent. Some individuals can be both which we define as either Open Ended, Variable or Switchable. A Closed Down person is impaired in their ability to make decisions. For some, this Compatibility Factor is difficult to identify within ourselves because of contradictory beliefs set in place by parental Imprinting. The more effectively we can identify our Decision-Making Approach and others’, the more supportive we can be in facilitating mutual decisions. A brief summary of each Approach is below:

CONVERGENT OR FOCUSED ENERGY:

Deals with specifics

•   Directed, purposeful, productive, concentrated, serial in time
•   Goal-oriented with specific timeframes for each step
•   Afraid to be overwhelmed by too much at one time
•   Likes clear straight lines and shiny, striking, provocative materials
•   Does not like to be interrupted; feels it is inefficient

DIVERGENT OR UNFOCUSED ENERGY:

Loves generalities

•   Primal, explosive, creative, expansive, multi-leveled, not serial in time
•   Wants to identify underlying principles
•   Afraid that premature activity will make things worse
•   Likes rounded, diffused patterns and soft natural materials
•   Likes to be interrupted; feels it will improve the discussion

OPEN ENDED

Conscious choice

•   Flexible, flowing, congruent, open, easy
•   Consensual Decision Making with trust
•   Responds to the circumstances at hand
•   Consciously chooses Convergent and/or Divergent
•   Reduces anxiety and stress in group Decision Making situations

VARIABLE

Semi-conscious choice

•   Flexible, reflective, fluid, aware, growing
•   Learning to understand the value of our Convergent and Divergent options
•   Becoming fluid and able to see what’s needed for each situation
•   Self awareness of what works, leads to congruence with others
•   Growing in our ability to meet others

SWITCHABLE

Reactive

•   Unpredictable, hyper-vigilant, incongruent, guarded, challenging
•   A result of having one strong Convergent parent and one strong Divergent parent
•   Unconsciously detecting and reacting to others
•   Automatically responds with opposite point of view
•   Hyper-sensitive to the differences in others

CLOSED DOWN

Stuck “under control”

•   Afraid, reluctant, confused, traumatized, secretive
•   Avoid making decisions
•   Handicapped by fear of being wrong
•   Extremely independent and do not need others, or
•   Go along with others just to make it easy

Overview — How We Grow In Our Decision-Making

Decision Making Approach provides a framework for engaging others in common work. Without clarity about approach, mutual work becomes impossible. Convergent decision-making eliminates and prioritizes options in a limited time to promote a sense of progress. Divergent decision-makers create more satisfaction by coming up with new ideas and testing everything possible to find the best one. Convergent decision-making maximizes results in time; divergent decision-making maximizes results based on a spatial framework of inter-related ideas. When an individual is Open Ended or Variable, they have learned how to anchor themselves in the middle, where they end up responding appropriately; due to the situation or depending on whether they need to be more Convergent or Divergent.

The more we understand Convergent and Divergent Approaches, the greater our capacity to separate ourselves from our personal preferences and actually accomplish what is needed based on the best Approach given the current problem. Unfortunately, our Imprinting experiences with our parents have created situations in which we personalize the problem so Approach has less to do with being effective than it does with being met. In that case, it appears to be more important to agree about how to do it, not what is most effective or expedient in the circumstances. The more we know and accept our natural Approach the less reactive we will be when others unconsciously push a path that is not appropriate. We can then respond in an easy-going, detached way that can be accepted.

Our Decision Making Approach can be different at work, in relationship, and in personal creative time. Parental imprinting that results in confusing, mixed messages heavily influences these factors. For example, we could be extremely organized or convergent, yet, because we do not want to be compared to someone else (usually a parent), we will keep our work desk or creative space messy. If there is a distant background where we were criticized and needed to be perfect, we may rebel by doing particular things that do not match our overall pattern. This is why we are general in our classifications. Overall, we choose one Decision Making Approach because one of these will be a way of operating that honors us the most. This does not mean that in certain areas we will not do things differently, because we have either been trained to do things one way, or because we have learned to react to others to pre-empt them from doing something different. Instead of reacting from our insecurities, we must look deeper within to identify and communicate the real sources of our concern. Our desire is to prove that only we, alone, are needed to get the best result. Unfortunately, we get conditioned to believe others have more power than we do in the decision-making process. The more we understand different decision-making Approaches, the more quickly we can neutralize our differences and Co-Create common solutions.

Examining Our Decision Making Options

Our decision-making approach is how we structure problem-solving. Some individuals focus, prioritize and make decisions within a pre-established timeframe for immediate action - we call this Convergent. Others, at the opposite end, want to reflect, explore options without a pre-established structure for long-term results - we call this Divergent. Still others like an optimum balance between Convergent and Divergent approaches. They let circumstance dictate the approach – we call this Switchable.

The potential for decision-making effectiveness is significantly expanded when we all realize that Convergent and Divergent approaches are equally powerful and valid. Problems occur when people do not have an understanding of the full range of natural decision-making approaches that can work in the situation. In other words, they become focused on their way of doing things (being right) and do not accept that others could accomplish things just as effectively by doing them differently.

When we insist others make decisions the way we do, despite their natural process, we create distrust and stress. By denying the other’s legitimate point of view, we intensify the conflict with them. We create situations where people are not heard or recognized for their perspective. This ultimately encourages avoidance behavior.

When others do not appreciate the unique approaches of their associates, they spend energy positioning and arguing about the way to solve problems rather than co-creating as a group. Individuals feel frustrated and stressed – they become cynical about group gatherings and lose confidence in their own and other’s ability to produce the desired results. When this happens, individuals find other ways to get what they want – usually by more covert and political means.

While this factor can show up differently in various parts of our life, we are usually naturally Convergent (meaning focused or prioritized toward immediate action), Divergent (meaning unfocused and open to exploring all options until the best become obvious) or Switchable (meaning we respond or react based on what others do or expect). For some, this compatibility factor is difficult to identify within ourselves because of contradictory beliefs set in place by imprinting.

Fortunately, it is possible to develop appreciation for decision-making approaches – both our own natural approach and the approach of others. This provides the context for mutual contribution and expanded creativity. Team members experience fulfillment and accomplishment because of their work together – and solutions are far better than any one individual could have developed on their own. This would be called a win-win decision-making process.

Summary: The Decision-making Approach provides a framework for engaging others in common work; without clarity about approach, mutual work and problem-solving becomes impossible and stagnation or unilateral actions result. Decision-Making Approach reflects a choice on the continuum between being Divergent or researching options to find the best, long-term solution, and being Convergent or taking immediate action to get something done. The more conscious we are about decision-making approach, the more we take other’s patterns and the situation itself into account before define how we will decide something.

Closed Down Decision-Making Approach

Closed Down Decision Making reflects that we are afraid to make choices for fear that we will be wrong. We attempt to keep everything under control by avoiding decisions. This is why we are reluctant to speak our Truth or state what we want. In the past, whenever we shared these things, others may have interfered. As a result, we play everything close to the vest and attempt to hide our true position. This makes it difficult for others to interact with us in any kind of Decision Making process. We are also afraid of people attempting to categorize or summarize our circumstances, even if they could explain why we are closed down, it wouldn’t change much. Being Closed Down is an Instinctive process where we either do things completely on our own or do things with others that we don’t care about (where we go along with them). Closed Down individuals possess no true Autonomy.Closed Down Decision Making is amplified by a Distant Defense Style, Switchable Pacing, Survival or Safety and Security WorldView.

Convergent Approach

In relationships, if we are convergent individuals, we work within a pre-established methodology and time frame so that we can focus our energy. We typically feel uncomfortable with the unknown (dealing with mystery or paradox) because it feels like a loss of productive energy, to which we are especially sensitive. As Convergent or focused individuals, we seek fewer solution paths but make them each more detailed. We also tend to stick with a proven path, even if it is not currently working. Our attitude is, “It is better to work on a known problem than to redefine the problem - taking unknown variables into consideration - even if it would be more efficient.” We operate from the premise that all available energy should go to producing a result, not re-considering all the options. We believe that narrowing our choices speeds up the result.

Convergent individuals can be identified by how they:

• Honor order and structure the most.
• Act like a time or scorekeeper whenever you do something with them.
• Use a detailed approach when dealing with specifics.
• Don’t like to be interrupted or diverted from a task.
• Use reliance on pre-established methodologies to solve problems.
• Try to limit options up front to the most probable solution path.
•  Desire to plan entire solutions up front, anticipating the decision point and planning for contingencies.
•  Address smaller problems that are easily solvable. They get their thrills by adding other easily solvable problems to build a complex structure.
•  Are unwillingly to move on to the next topic until clarity or a decision is reached.

The most Convergent individuals have the goal of “make something happen everyday”. That is, we seek to accomplish something worthwhile each day. Usually, it’s a step that is part of a larger process. Everyday, at the end of the day, we have better feedback in what worked and didn’t work in the steps we completed. We use this information to constantly inform and update the larger goals we have. In other words, when something felt “right” we figure out the elements that were working and try to use this strategy the next day. In this way, there is always incremental improvement in our ability to implement what is important to us.

Because as Convergent individuals, we focus our goals to single steps, we typically take on the smaller scope of what we’re doing and operate as if that were our entire world. For this reason, Divergent individuals complain that Convergents have tunnel-vision. Usually, it is hard if we are extremely Convergent individuals to switch gears and do something entirely new or different than what we expected. This is because we have an operational focus that is driven by a desire and sense of urgency to make things happen. Without this focus, we wouldn’t feel satisfied and valued by being able to improve the processes we do day-to-day. Finally, Convergent individuals love to measure themselves, so that improvements can be seen over time. This allows them to have fun in implementing things.

Convergent decision-making occurs when our desire to move forward and produce some degree of results is strong in a situation. The more Convergent we are, the more we eliminate options up front and move into action by taking small incremental steps that we can do quickly. The satisfaction we feel as Convergent individuals is a sense of progress and power that comes from taking action, knowing that we can change the direction of a situation in the next step. We tend, therefore, to take projects and break them down into their smallest components and love to reduce the complexity of a project so that each individual has control and responsibility for their own contribution. While some individuals believe that Convergent individuals have a limited tunnel vision because of our demand for structure and conformity, it is actually true that as Convergent individuals, we abhor structure without purpose and usually seek the simplest solution.

The reason we actually get this reputation is that we are sticklers for personal responsibility and we usually wish to make sure that there are no miscommunications or lack of follow through. In this way, many Convergent people are perceived by Divergent people as being insensitive, disrespectful, and not caring about people their feelings and needs. As Convergent individuals, we are more like base hitters that want to get to first base before we have to figure out how to get to second, third or home plate. Like most sailors, we realize that the tack we take in the short run does not reflect the long-term course. The goal of the Convergent individual is to make the best decision based on the amount of resources and time available at the moment.

Convergent decision-making is amplified by Dynamic defense style, Think-first processes, and high pacing. Primary creative energies that would tend to be more Convergent are Warrior, either as primary or secondary energy, which also amplifies Convergent decision-making. All the following people are Convergent.

Examples: (A1) Strictly Convergent (16% of the U.S. population)

In this category, people could have Convergent imprinting on top of their already Convergent nature, which makes them second-guess themselves.

John Glenn – First U.S. astronaut to reach orbit. Also a U.S. Senator
Diane Feinstein – Former Mayor of San Francisco, now U.S. Senator from California
Lynda Carter – Actress, remembered as Wonderwoman.
Bette Davis – Actress, known for movie, “What Ever Happened to Baby Jane”
Lauren Bacall – Actress, known for movie, “Casablanca.”
Sean Connery – Actor, known as the first James Bond and in film, “Finding Forrester.”
Raquel Welch – Actress, considered major sex-pot of the 1960’s
C. Everett Koop – Former U.S. Surgeon General
Diane Sawyer – Newscaster
Sharon Stone – Actress, known for movies, “Casino”
Gloria Steinem – one of the principle leaders of the Feminist Movement
H. R. Haldeman – ran the Plumbers Unit during the Nixon administration
Yul Brynner – Actor, known for movies “The Magnificent Seven,” and the “The King and I”
Anthony Hopkins – Actor, known for movies, “Nixon” and “Hearts of Atlantis”
Alfred Hitchcock – Murder mystery novelist
Carrie Fisher – Actress, remembered as the original Princess Leiah in “Star Wars”
Candice Bergen – Actress, well known for her role as “Murphy Brown”
Jennifer Aniston – Actress, played Rachel on the T.V. sitcom, “Friends”
Geena Davis – Actress, known for the movie, “Thelma and Louise”
Clint Eastwood – Actress, most recent movie, “Bloodwork”
Rosie O’Donnell – Actress, Singer, Talk Show Host
John Wayne – Actor, famous for numerous westerns of the 1960’s
Spencer Tracy – Actor, known for the movie, “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner”

 

Examples: (A2) Convergent with Divergent Imprinting (6% of the U.S. population) These individuals could also have some Convergent imprinting.

Examples: (A2) Convergent with Divergent Imprinting (6% of the U.S. population)

These individuals could also have some Convergent imprinting.

Tina Turner – Singer, Actress; song, “Private Dancer”; movie “Mad Max”
Madonna – Entertainer, Actress
Ted Koppel – Newscaster, known for T.V. “Nightline”
Dolly Parton – Country Western singer, entertainer, creator of “Dollywood”
Roseanne Barr – Comedian, Actress
Susan Sarandon – Actress, known for movie, “Dead Man Walking”
Diana Ross – Singer, Entertainer
Mr. T. – Actor, known for movie, “Rocky II” and the 1970’s T.V. show “A-Team”
Emma Thompson – Actress, known for movies portraying British themes
Barbara Bush – Wife of former President George Bush Sr., Mother of current President
Cher – Singer/Songwriter, Actress, known for movie, “Moonstruck”
Vanna White – T.V. personality
Rod Sterling – Host and Narrator of the “Twilight Zone”
Billy Graham – Religious leader
Bella Abzug – former NY Representative to Congress, Women’s Rights Leader
Jamie Lee Curtis – Actress, known for the movies, “Trading Places,” “True Lies”
Kirsti Alley – Actress, known for the “Look Whose Talking” movie

Divergent Approach

In relationships, divergent individuals seek to experiment with many potential solutions, simultaneously. We typically feel uncomfortable with rigid time frames and pre-organized structure because of the belief that these create compromised solutions. The divergent problem solver wants to create as many options as possible to see what “shows up” as the optimal solution. Even if the best solution is just around the corner, the Divergent problem solver will maintain the possibility that other variables, of which they generate many, could provide an even better solution.

Divergent individuals can be identified by how they:

•   Honor chaos and freedom to do something new.
•   Acting as if they are more interested in research and troubleshooting than action.
•   Lack willingness to initially commit to anything.
•   Procrastination when things don’t go the way they expect (need time).
•   Come up with a new option that completely changes the direction and believe that somehow others should automatically see the benefit of it, trust them and follow their lead.
•   Counted on to avoid eliminating choices up front and their ad hoc ability to create solutions in the moment.
•   Take on projects that are extremely complex just for the challenge of it.
•   Switch contexts in mid-discussion without notifying anyone.

Divergent individuals always start by surveying the situation to determine all the possible options. We take time to investigate the most likely options and typically feel the need to involve others who will be affected in the process to provide input. As Divergent individuals, we want to make sure that the results are worth the effort; therefore, we create elaborate plans and attempt to co-ordinate activities in such a way that people are working together and are more interdependent. This is diametrically opposite to Convergent individuals who seek to promote more personal responsibility rather than group responsibility.

As strong Divergent's, we want to engage everything in the universe to ensure nothing is left out of our solutions. This is the reason we have large context. Unfortunately, having this large of context means we are much slower at processing all the possibilities. Our expanded scope tends to focus us on the inter-connections between all things, so we don’t focus in on any basic time frame. This is why most of us as Divergent individuals ignore the time frame issues of others and distance ourselves from people that want to constrict what they do. The key to understanding our Divergent approach is to recognize that while we may be slow in accessing and making sure something is right, when it is right, we can move with astounding accuracy and finesse.

Convergent's commonly underestimate the power of Divergent's to manifest larger possibilities than they are imagining. Many Divergent individuals can be working on two or three things simultaneously. We cam astound others with our implementation capability when all these projects simultaneously manifest. One primary reason Artisans have the ability to multi-task and get in to “burst” mode is because they are more likely to be divergent individuals in their decision-making. Simply put, as Divergent decision-makers, we build skills and understandings of things and hoard them away, out of sight of everyone else, until it is time to manifest them. Then, we commonly astound people with our understanding and integration of many activities at the same time.

A Divergent individual is more comfortable not starting a project until everything is in line and resources are available. We tend to take time, even more than the Convergent individual, in the implementation process to make sure we are not making mistakes. Our goal is to make sure that we have included everything in the process and anticipated all the possible consequences that would keep us from our goal. For this reason, we liken them to a home run hitter who is willing to take more strikes if they can hit it over the fence more often. Our goal as a Divergent individual is to make sure that everyone around us will appreciate the good we are doing for years to come.

To Convergent people, this seems like a sacrifice because they expect more consistent results. Their fear is Divergent people are unrealistic, ungrounded, and lack any practical insights about how to accomplish things. Divergent decision-making is amplified by a Disarming defense style, Feel-first processes, and low pacing. Primary creative energies that would tend to be more Divergent are Artisan, either as primary or secondary energy, which also amplifies Divergent decision-making. All the following people are Divergent.

Examples: (C1) Strictly Divergent (About 9% of the U.S. population)

These individuals could have some Divergent imprinting over their Divergent nature, making them second-guess themselves.

Sandra Bullock – Actress, known for the movie, “Miss Congeniality”
Michael Jackson – Singer, Entertainer, Actor.
Marilyn Monroe – Actress, sexy star of the 1950-60’s; movie, “Some Like It Hot”
Drew Barrymore – Actress, known for movie, “Boys on the Side” and “E.T.”
Dudley Moore – Actor, known for movie, “Arthur” and “10”
Teri Garr – Actress; known for film, “Oh, God”
Meg Ryan – Actress, known for movies, “When Harry Met Sally”, “Sleepless in Seattle”, “You’ve Got Mail”, and “Courage Under Fire”
Prince – Singer
Meryl Streep – Actress, known for movies, “Kramer vs. Kramer”, “The River Wild”, “Sophie’s Choice”, “Ironwood”, and “The Hours”
Pee Wee Herman – T.V. Personality, Actor, known for children’s TV show “Pee Wee Herman’s Playhouse”
Kim Bassinger – Actress, known for movie, “9 1/2 Weeks”
Albert Einstein – Physicist, famous for the “Theory of Relativity”
Warren Beatty – Actor, known for movies, “Shampoo”, “Reds”, and “Ishtar”
Johnny Depp – Actor, known for movie, “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape”
Arsenio Hall – Actor, Talk Show Host.
Goldie Hawn – Actress, Activist, known for her role on “Laugh In” in the 1960’s and her most recent movie, “The Banger Sisters”
Elton John – Singer/Songwriter
Bo Derek – Actress, known for the movie, “10.”
Alan Alda – Actor, known for his role in “Mash.”

Examples: (C2) Divergent with Convergent Imprinting; (About 12% of the U.S. population)

These people could have Divergent imprinting as well, which would make them second-guess themselves.

Val Kilmer – Actor, known for movie, ”Batman”
K.D. Lang – Singer/Songwriter, Actress
Danny DeVito – Actor, known for movie, “Twins”; and T.V. sitcom, “Taxi”
Patrick Stewart – Actor, played Captain Picard in “Star Trek: Next Generation”
Donald Trump – Famous real estate tycoon
Liza Minnelli – Singer, Entertainer, Actress
Colin Powell – Current Secretary of State in the Bush administration
Mia Farrow – Actress, played in many Woody Allen (ex-partner’s) films
Mark Harmon – T.V. Actor
Jesse Jackson – Preacher, Political Activist
Bill Cosby – Comedian, Actor, remembered for the “Bill Cosby Show.”
Jeff Goldblum – Actor, known for the movies, “The Fly” and “The Big Chill”
William Shatner – Actor, remembered as Captain Kirk in “Star Trek”
Dennis Hopper – Actor, known for the movies, “Blue Velvet” and “Easy Rider”
Martin Sheen – Actor, known for the movie, “Apocalypse Now” and “Wall Street”
Phil Donahue – Talk show host
Elvis Presley – Singer, Entertainer, Actor; Song, “Blue Suede Shoes”
David Bowie – Singer/Songwriter, Actor
Ralph Nader – 2002 Green Party’s U.S. Presidential candidate
Walter Matthau – Actor, known for movie, ”A New Leaf” and TV’s “Odd Couple”
Spike Lee – Director of numerous African-American themed movies
Ted Turner – Founder of “CNN” 24-hour TV news network
Gene Hackman – Actor, known for movie, “Behind Enemy Lines”
Robin Williams – Comedian, Actor, known for movies, “What Dreams May Come”, “Good Morning Vietnam”, and “Mrs. Doubtfire”; was Mork in TV’s “Mork & Mindy”
Oliver Stone – Film Director, known for making films that pursue conspiracy theories regarding historical events; movie, “Full Metal Jacket”
Nick Nolte – Actor, known for movies, “48 Hours” and “Prince of Tides”
Jim Carey – Actor, known for movie, “Cable Guy”
Woody Allen – Writer, Director, Actor, known for numerous movies, “Sleeper”, “Annie Hall”, “Play It Again, Sam” and “Hannah and Her Sisters.”
Allen Ginsburg – Buddhist poet, Author
Walt Disney – Cartoonist, creator of Disneyland
Dan Akroyd – Comedian, Actor, known for movie, “Ghost Busters”
Dustin Hoffman – Actor, known for movies, “Midnight Cowboy” and “Tootsie”
Brad Pitt – Actor, known for movie, “Meet Joe Black”
Jerry Garcia – Singer/Songwriter, known for band, “The Grateful Dead”
Michael Keaton – Actor, known for the movie, “Multiplicity” and “Batman”

Switchable Decision Making Approach

Switchable Approach: Some like a balance between Convergent and Divergent approaches, letting others dictate which Approach they use, called Switchable. The flexibility comes from having been around both Convergent and Divergent Approaches, understanding both sides, and knowing how to neutralize whatever comes up in themselves and others. Many business and political leaders are Switchable, making it easier for them to meet and understand different people. In one situation, a Switchable person might use a Convergent Approach of trying to make the best decision based on the amount of resources and time available at the moment, working within a pre-established methodology and time-frame to focus energy towards producing a result, eliminating and prioritizing options to promote a sense of progress. While in another situation, a Switchable person might use a Divergent Approach of avoiding time-frames and structures, starting by surveying the situation to determine all the possible options, investigating the most likely options, and involving others who will be affected in the process. Switchable Approach can use not only either extreme but every spot on the continuum. They can argue against any other perspective, even the center. Switchable can be general and specific simultaneously, mixing and matching, throwing others into disarray Working in a team of Convergent and Divergent individuals can be dizzying for Switchables, as they often move to different positions throughout a discussion. Their unpredictability can be frustrating to others. Switchables contribute by seeing what is missing or not being addressed in a situation, but in trying to balance their needs and others’ needs, sometimes they do not see the whole picture, and then later on have to renegotiate.

Identifying Switchable Approach: They are extremely sensitive to the expectations and beliefs of others. Switchables can look Convergent (honoring order and structure), Divergent (honoring chaos and freedom), or they can be anywhere in between. Often they include others in a process even when it’s not necessary in an effort to make sure everyone’s perspective is honored. In a team of more Convergent and more Divergent people, they want to be appreciated for their flexibility and capability in making things happen in a way that serves everyone.

Appreciating a Range of Approaches:Other Approaches often don’t trust Switchables because they believe they’re superficial or not going deep enough with issues, instead of recognizing the range of skills they can contribute. Switchables theoretically appreciate a range of Approaches, but not for every situation, in each moment. Switchables demonstrate both the ability to choose a course, prioritize, take action, and make progress toward a solution, and also the ability to broaden their focus, dramatically change course, and manifest larger possibilities, but only in reaction to others. Often they get frustrated, feeling disempowered and out of control because they always wait to respond rather than initiating. The Switchable’s challenge is to recognize that all Approaches are equally powerful and valid and to trust themselves to determine what unique Approach is best for the problem at hand, instead of mirroring or doing the opposite of their colleagues. This acceptance helps everyone be less polarizing and reactive, allowing the creation of common solutions that are more effective.

Are You A Switchable Decision Maker?

•   See opposite side of what people see – see what’s missing or not being addressed first
•   Can appreciate both decision-making approaches
•   Willingness to see in terms of others views
•   Try to balance our focused, “eliminate as many options upfront” approach with the unfocused, “give ourselves as much time as we need” approach.
•   Can take all points of view and argue against the middle
•   Frustrating to others because they don’t seem to be predictable
•   General and specific and can mix and match which throw others into disarray
•   Switchable people don’t feel they have control – disempowered for the reason they respond rather than initiate
•   React rather than act in conscious ways
•   No place feels like home
•   People around them see them in reaction and don’t feel they have a choice – affects the confidence about others that switchable people make
•   Other decision-making types don’t trust them because they think they’re superficial or not going deep enough with issue
•   Biggest problem with switchable people is that they don’t see the complete problem from all angles (only in reflection of their problem) and can’t see the group problem. More people make you see more reflections.
•   Jumping around – no clear problem.
•   They try to balance their needs and others needs, sometimes not seeing the whole picture. Later on, they have to renegotiate because they didn’t really see the whole picture and what was required. Trying to be fair has you not ask for what you.
•   Extremely sensitive to the expectations and beliefs of others.
•   Include others when it’s not necessary but in an effort to make sure everyone’s perspective is honored.
•   Want to be appreciated for flexibility and capability in making things happen in a way that serves everyone.
•   Like it when decisions are made without a lot of pressure, force or anxiety.
•   Feel a lot of pressure and inner anxiety because of need to attend to the circumstances rather than own needs or process.

Variable Decision-Making Approach

In relationships, Variable Approach individuals make decisions on a situational basis, delaying unfamiliar options or quickly embracing known solutions. If we have left parental imprinting behind, we are typically fluid and hard to categorize. We usually feel uncomfortable with not having an answer or solution to a problem, and therefore sometimes take the first solution offered. This is more flexible and fluid than closed-down individuals, who feel they will be consistently left out of the process. We are not discussing the closed-down group because closed-down people would not be in the public eye.

It is also important to realize that Variable Approach can indicate a considerable degree of imprinting to a point of very little imprinting. In other words, for some of us, the way to grow fastest is to learn how to enjoy being ourselves and not take on the issues of others. This is the most direct path to an open-ended decision-maker because Variable people already honor both the Divergent and Convergent nature of the world. It is interesting to note how many of our political leaders are Variable Approach, which makes it easier for them to meet and understand different people. It is also no wonder that this makes them difficult to pin down because they always want to keep their options open.

As we have indicated, there are various levels of the Variable Approach. The flexibility in being a variable individual is dependent on our ability to see others’ decision-making process, and our ability to neutralize imprinting in our self and others. This is a secret of Variable decision-makers. Due to the fact we have grown up around imprinting, we understand it from both sides, and therefore, understand how to neutralize whatever fears are coming up in our self and others. We can say the things that make others calm down. While this skill may be used to maximize our own self-importance, eventually, we realize that serving others does serve us as well.

As Variable Approach individuals, the way we become open-ended in our decision-making is by learning to serve others. The more self-accepting we can be, just as we are, the easier it is to accept and not judge others. Any judgments we do experience will distance us from others and provoke imprinting reactions in them. We can see how well we are doing by the degree of flow we experience with others in making decisions. The more we are present with ourselves, while simultaneously being present with others, the less effect imprinting will have on us and the less reactions we will cause in others. While most business leaders in the executive ranks have reached a Variable Approach through their experience, not all of them understand what they are doing. Making this instinctive process more intellectually understood by themselves and their organization could transform and empower their experience, encouraging a more open-ended decision-making approach among others.

Variable decision-making is amplified by the Distant defense style, Act-first processes, and Variable pacing. Primary creative energies that would tend to be more Variable are Sage, Server, and Scholar, either as primary or secondary energies, which also amplifies Variable decision-making. All of the following people are Variable.

Examples: Variable with Convergent Emphasis

(Approximately 6% of the U.S. population)

George Bush, Sr. - Former U.S. President, father of current President
Dan Rather – Newscaster
Dick Clark – Entertainer, remembered for TV’s “American Bandstand”
Winston Churchill – Prime Minister of Great Britain during WWII
Richard Nixon – Resigned as U.S. President, remembered for “Watergate”
Leonard Nimoy – Actor, remembered as “Mr. Spock” on “Star Trek”
Jimmy Carter – Former U.S. President; Awarded 2002 Nobel Peace Prize
Robert Redford – Actor/Director, Political Activist; known for movies, “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid”, “The Sting”, “The Way We Were”, “Out of Africa”, “Ordinary People”, “The Great Gatsby” and “Indecent Proposal”
Jane Fonda – Actress, ex-wife of Ted Turner, daughter of Henry Fonda, known for movies, “Barbarella”, “The China Syndrome”, “Klute”, and “On Golden Pond”
Harrison Ford – Actor, known for movies, “Star Wars”, ‘Indiana Jones and Temple of Doom”, and “Air Force One”
Fred Astaire – Dancer, Entertainer, Actor
Michelle Pfeiffer – Actress, known for movie, “Dangerous Minds”
Linda Evans – Actress, known for her roles in TV’s “Dynasty” and “Charlie’s Angels”
Robert Stack – Actor, known for his role in “The Untouchables”

Examples: Variable with Divergent Emphasis

(Approximately 4% of the U.S. population)

Chuck Norris – Actor, martial arts expert, endorses product the “Total Gym”
Mary Tyler Moore – Actress, known for TV’s “Dick Van Dyke Show”, “Mary Tyler Moore Show”, and movie, “Ordinary People”
Johnny Carson – Comedian, former host of the “Tonight Show”
Lauren Holly – Actress, briefly married to Jim Carey.
Tom Hanks – Actor, known for the movies, “Cast Away”, “Sleepless in Seattle”, “Saving Private Ryan”, and “Big”
Eddie Murphy – Comedian, Actor.
Burt Reynolds – Actor, known for the movie, “Smokey and the Bandit”
Kevin Costner – Actor, known for movies, “Dances With Wolves” and “Tincup”
Dean Martin – Singer, Entertainer, Actor.
Lucille Ball – Actress, married to Ricky Ricardo in the “Lucille Ball Show.”
Bruce Dern – Actor, known for the movies, “The Great Gatsby” and “Coming Home”
Mike Tyson – Champion prize-fighter

Open Ended Decision-Making Approach

These individuals have no pre-set bias toward one Approach over the other. They, therefore, can participate effectively in whatever way others wish. A key skill we have as Open-ended Decision-making people is that we don’t judge others where they are and we don’t take on the judgments of others about decision-making. Instead we feel internally abundant and connect with others wherever they are and in whatever way they want. This requires us to understand the full range of Divergent to Convergent decision-making positions. While most individuals have adopted a position that reflects who they are so others don’t take advantage of them, an open-ended decision-maker knows that any position diminishes their effectiveness.

An Open-Ended decision-maker is connected to others without feeling compromised. We encourage others to evolve and develop a sense of direction in each situation that reflects the best way to deal with that particular situation. For this reason, Open-Ended decision-makers look at the task to see if it’s more effectively done in either Divergent or Convergent ways and then consider the people and their pre-existing biases before adding our own perspective to the situation. Usually, the view that we take is one that compliments the people and the process so that a decision can be made for the highest good of all. An Open-Ended decision-maker is truly a facilitator of action and not an obstacle to it. Another quality that can be seen in us as Open-Ended decision-makers is our lack of self-importance that comes from our natural humility. Since we don’t view ourselves as anything special, we actually are unique in what we do.

Energies that amplify an Open-Ended decision-making process are Pioneering Affirmation style (See Chapter 5), an understanding of our communication process and natural creative expression, and an ability to see through the imprinting of people around us. With these abilities, we can engage people in flowing ways without creating reactions in others. Of course, as Open-Ended decision-makers, we have to love ourselves enough to love others where they are.

Examples: (D1) Open-Ended Decision-making Approach (7% of the U.S. population)

Oprah Winfrey – Talk Show Host, Actress, known for movie, “The Color Purple” (comes from a Convergent background)
Steve Martin – Comedian, Actor, known for movies, “The Man With Two Brains”, “All of Me”, and “Roxanne” (comes from a Disarming background)
Ellen DeGeneres – Comedian, Talk Show Host, “Ellen”

Decision-Making Differences by Environment

Another way of observing our natural decision-making preferences is how we use different approaches in different environments. The three frameworks we examine are: work, personal relationships and personal creative projects. In work, it tends to bring out our more masculine expression, no matter what gender we are. In personal relationships, the decision-making process reflects our feminine or more undefined nature. In personal creative projects, we tend to be true to our authentic decision-making approach because we have the ability to do things the way we want to without the concern of pleasing others. It is important to remember that each individual receives a variety of messages about what is expected and that these assumptions can distort of distract us from our natural impulse in making decisions. Our intention is to highlight your natural propensity to engage in a certain way to bring a deeper understanding of yourself in different situations.

Convergent and Divergent behavior is many times context sensitive. Our upbringing, imprinting and training can effect decision-making at work, in relationship, or in personal creative time. These factors are heavily influenced by parental imprinting that can result in confusing, mixed messages. For example, a person could be extremely organized or convergent, yet because they don’t want to be compared to someone (usually a parent), they will keep their work desk or creative space messy. If there is a distant background where the child was criticized and needed to be perfect, some individuals rebel by dong particular things that don’t match the overall pattern. This is why we are general in our classifications. Determine how your decision-making assumptions are modified in different situations.

Work And Convergent Decision-Making

Our society currently expects you to be more focused and prioritized when you are at work. This supports you in structuring yourself for quick response situations where you incrementally make changes. This is usually in response to perceived shifts to what is needed by others around you. A sense of urgency pushes you to be part of the solution rather than hold on to the past, which is now perceived as the problem. This Convergent decision-making is time sensitive and allows you to best co-ordinate with others by taking small steps where feedback allows you to shift in a different direction if it is needed. In this situation, others respect and admire your ability to define yourself in terms of what you are able to do quickly.

Work And Divergent Decision-Making

Our society does not know how to deal with you if you are more Divergent at work unless you are considered a more creative person, homemaker, inventor or artist who creates your own timeframe for making things happen. This supports you in letting circumstances define how you respond based on a comparative sense of urgency or bottom-line priorities. In other words, your decision-making approach is to postpone or delay until you have to make it or lose the opportunity. The only thing that redefines what is important is some external event that can upset you or preemptively limit some choice or option. You learn to be careful about issues, which can negatively impact you in this way. This is why we suggest that this form of decision-making rely on spacious presence and integration with many possibilities simultaneously. This facilitates your work when your job is to bring together many different people, events or processes so that they are made more complete. In this situation, while others may not know how to acknowledge you immediately, over time they may esteem what you do even though they don’t know how you do it.

Work And Switchable Decision-Making

Our society has mixed feelings about individuals who are Switchable in their decision-making. This is due to the fact Switchable decision-makers who tend to deny themselves their own preferences can sometimes explode unexpectedly after long periods of self-denial. While society appreciates the flexibility that Switchable decision-makers exhibit, they are repulsed by the unpredictable, periodic explosions that occur. As Switchable decision-makers, you tend to respond to others in ways they expect the decision-making process to be. Eventually, suppressing your own wishes drives you to do your own projects or to impose your own needs in some situations. What is frightening to you is how unexpected these shifts can be, where you need to honor yourself despite the social consequences. Most of the time, you enjoy the changes between Convergent and Divergent styles because of the differences in the people around you. Your capacity to be detailed or to engage the big picture tends to stretch and expand your perspective in new ways. Being able to see different views and address the underlying fears of others, by doing things the way they need them to be done, is definitely a useful skill at work. The more you learn to honor your own choice, the easier it is to work out ways, which serve everyone around you. This reflects that when you appreciate and love your own natural approach, you eventually become more fluid and responsive in your decision-making.

Personal Relationships And Convergent Decision-Making

Convergent decision-making in personal relationships means that you attempt to pre-select a few likely options and then seek to get others to agree with this plan.  You believe your value is in simplifying and pre-screening various options. You are helpful to the degree that others appreciate your investment in eliminating the vast majority of options. As a more Convergent decision-maker in personal relationships, you like to envision that small changes over time will produce exceptional results. You enjoy bringing up issues, believing that small decisions about them will help make the transition easier to where you want to be. You tend to assume that if people understood how easy this process is, they would naturally engage you in a way that would make this work. Unless another individual is also Convergent in personal relationships, this is unlikely to be so. These different individuals tend to believe that constantly bringing up these issues to make the incremental adjustments would be, in fact, both irritating and difficult for them to engage. Divergent decision-makers would be particularly upset because they need more time to absorb a problem and formulate a response to it than Convergent decision-makers. Since Divergent decision-makers see this engagement process as counter-productive, if only a small change is sought, they naturally resist it. As Convergent decision-makers in personal relationships, this resistance is seen as an unwillingness to engage change. Unfortunately, this is seen as necessary to maintain the relationship. It becomes a red flag, which indicates that it is likely that each individual is going their own way.

Personal Relationships And Divergent Decision-Making

Divergent decision-making in personal relationships means that you see it as your duty to open up options and to honor the unknown opportunities, which may arise in each situation. You believe your value is in exploring and deepening various options by following your nose to what seems to have the greatest potential. You are helpful to the degree that others perceive that the decision-making process can be open ended and is not constrained by external time deadlines. As a more Divergent decision-maker in personal relationships, you like to envision that others are open to making big shifts a pivotal times when you know where you want to go is different than where you have been. You tend to assume that if people understood the value and effectiveness of making these changes all at once, they would naturally be willing to move with you. Unless another individual is also Divergent in personal relationships, this is unlikely to be so. These different individuals tend to believe that big changes create more insecurity and greater potential because of unanticipated interactions in the variables. Convergent decision-makers would be particularly upset because they need faster decision-making processes that constantly take on and make small changes so they limit the degree that things can go wrong. Since Convergent individuals see big changes as problematic, they naturally resist it. As Divergent decision-makers in personal relationships, this resistance is seen as an unwillingness to take risks to make things better. Unfortunately, Divergent decision-makers see this as a big problem because others will not be able to incorporate the changes they are going through. Their fear of being rejected becomes progressively greater because of the increasing differences.

Personal Relationships And Switchable Decision-Making

Switchable decision-making in personal relationships means that you either do Convergent or Divergent approaches based on your perceptions of how others are being. You tend to lose yourself in the perceived needs of others without honoring your own choices. This is not only confusing to you but also to others who see you shift in your ways of addressing issues and therefore others become concerned because they don’t know how best to support you.  What others are attempting to do is to establish a set pattern for supporting you so they don’t have to think about it. You of course, perceive this as a good intention (that is attempting to meet you) but it does not work for you a majority of the time. What you would like is a person who can adjust to you and can sense what is needed and simply provide it. In everyday terms, this is called “being able to read minds”.  You expect this because in many ways, you actually do provide this. When others are different in their decision-making process, it does not work for you because their perceived lack of flexibility guarantees that you will not be seen and supported in you decision-making approach a majority of the time.  The answer, of course, if for you to let go of this expectation and to begin to articulate to the best degree possible, what type of decision-making works best for you in different situations. This not only encourages you to become conscious of the contextual factors that affect and inform your decision-making approach, but also helps others to know how and when to meet you in a particular decision-making process. Ultimately, you heal this pattern by being able to embrace any decision-making approach at any particular time, regardless of circumstances.

Personal Creative Projects And Convergent Decision-Making

When you are able to do projects in your own way, it is much easier to establish your own timeline and pace the process in a manner which supports its unfolding. Since you enjoy breaking the project down into small components that you can address in a sequential way, daily goals appeal to you. There is a sense of satisfaction in being able to see projects progress step-by-step and to see your vision manifest. It is fun to push yourself to make that next step happen. While others may not appreciate the pressure you put yourself and them under, it promotes a sense of urgency that is important because you said you would accomplish a certain step. The most interesting aspect of being Convergent in your personal creative projects is that you don’t have to compromise or delay due to others inability to organize themselves. Instead you can see the goal and knock off each step in exactly the way you imagined it. There is also a joy in seeing the feedback that occurs from each problem/solution cycle so that you can incrementally address larger issues and see the results. In this way, change is progressive and based on previous known results.

Personal Creative Projects And Divergent Decision-Making

When you are able to do projects in your own way, it is much easier to formulate an outcome that is worthy of you addressing it. In others words, it is big enough to motivate you and yet small enough for you to accomplish. Since you enjoy seeing the larger picture, it is no surprise that you have to view the problem from every angle so that you can anticipate every issue in advance. There is a sense of satisfaction in addressing each issue in a way that can work with every other component of the problem. It is fun to not be defined by other people’s timeframe so that you can allow the solution to emerge naturally.  As others are unlikely to appreciate the messiness of the creative process, you are usually unwilling to share your ultimate goals until you are clear you can manifest them. The most interesting aspect of being Divergent in your personal creative projects is that you don’t have to perform to meet the expectations of others, particularly when you don’t tell them your goals in advance. There is also a joy in every option researched and examined as you begin to create an integrated solution that can meet your total requirements. In this way, when you are ready, it all comes together to the amazement of those around you.

Personal Creative Projects And Switchable Decision-Making

Being Switchable means that you keep your options open when you are doing your own creative projects. Many times this reflects how you look at a project and get a sense of what is necessary to produce it before you choose a decision-making style. For example, if the timing is externally fixed and others need the benefit of what you are creating in a certain timeframe, it will naturally suggest a Convergent approach. On the other hand, if a project is not time critical and others are not yet involved, perhaps a Divergent approach would be better, particularly if the end result is not clear or needs more development. Your opportunities in being Switchable also make it possible to switch from one framework to another in mid-project. This usually occurs as a result of getting others involved who have particular contributions and different decision-making styles. It is also likely that once a contribution has been made, the structure can revert to its previous framework, particularly if it was working well for you. The only problem with being Switchable on your own creative projects, is that in some situations it may be difficult to determine the best way to approach an issue.  This confusion can be greatly amplified when other decision-makers are involved who have different decision-making approaches. They may find your lack of decisiveness a problem, rather than a flexible opportunity that can be utilized to make things happen.

Validating Our Decision Making Approach

1.   When you have a problem to solve, do you prefer arranging all the facts, analyzing them, drilling down to the most effective solution, then going all out to make it happen (Divergent); do you start doing something (understanding you will never have all the critical facts), adjust your plan along the way and watch things unfold in new and creative ways (Convergent); or do you see yourself doing both in different situations based on the situation or other people involved (Open Ended or Variable); or do you react to others and do the opposite (Switchable)?
2.   Do you think or feel that you work best by slowly circling a problem, working from the largest framework down to smaller and smaller ones until the problem has been solved (Divergent)? Or do you prefer to work from the critical issues outward by identifying the issues we can quickly solve (Convergent)?
3.   Do you think that you work best by making a plan and then working the plan (Convergent), or do you collect information until you feel comfortable enough to proceed (Divergent)

ARE WE MORE CONVERGENT OR DIVERGENT?

Convergent Individuals:

•   Minimize the scope of a project to produce a quick cycle result.,
•   Reduce the timeframe so that non-compliant others will be noticed quickly.
•   Schedule interactions with others up-front at predefined times.
•   Establish clear and defined roles in advance.
•   Feel they need to complete what they set out to do, even if it turns out to be something they do not want.
•   Would rather feel that something was accomplished, even if it is not the absolute best solution (best choice for the time and place).

Divergent Individuals:

•   Find a direction to go, but do not define the ultimate result.
•   Maximize the scope of a project for the purpose of providing flexibility in the way it can be accomplished.
•   Do not limit timeframes so they have space to collect all the information they need.
•   Explore possible choices or means in an expanded manner.
•   Attempt to implement multiple choices, simultaneously, just to see which way turns out to be easiest.
•   Require a greater degree of interactivity to establish deadlines in a group because initially no one knows where they are going.
•   Believe a goal or intention needs to be accepted by the group or person as worthy, otherwise the energy will fade.
•   Would rather not accomplish something that was not right on the mark (holds out for best choice overall).

Convergent Imprinting

Imprinting is when we act consistent with learned behaviors that help us prove our value or gain acceptance in life (often from our parents). When someone is Convergent imprinted, it mandates that they should make all decisions as quickly as possible or else someone might consider them to be procrastinators. Our fear is that others will doubt our capability to make a decision if we do not do it in a particular timeframe. This means we frequently over-simplify our problems and can try to force short-term solutions that are often not effective. We become driven to break each decision down into a series of small concrete steps to see that we are making progress. Over time, attempting to be what others want us to be, drains our energy and we become more resistance to compromising ourselves. This naturally increases our reluctance to define our decision-making processes in a way that others expect. This is why we become more intense over time and attempt to structure the standards by which we will be measured. As a result we create structures, rules and roles that make it more difficult for others to hurt or judge us. With Convergent Imprinting, we are upset when others do not appreciate our meticulous organization. The main problem with convergent imprinting is that while we want to consider all the options, we frequently feel unable to examine our choices, for fear that others will consider us incapable of making quality decisions.

It is confusing to us when we are identified with convergent imprinting, that others do not seem to appreciate our effort. Underlying this convergent imprinting is usually a more divergent side that reveals itself enough to confuse and/or create concerns about our capacity to make things happen. If we examined our process more closely, usually we would discover times when we were unclear about what to do and/or felt unable to take action. Since we are superficially fearful about chaos, we become fixated about time frames and meeting schedules. Sometimes we attempt to ignore the complexity of the issues, which leads to situations where we get caught up and are unable to implement our initial vision. What we seek is for others to acknowledge the incremental improvements that we make in each situation. Ironically, we are satisfied when we reduce the amount of time it takes in any decision-making activity, even if it diminishes our natural flow.

Divergent Imprinting

Divergent imprinting mandates that we should be open and flexible regarding time in all decision-making processes. When overwhelmed we allow chaos to reign because it is better than the inner pressure we feel we need to perform. While inwardly we possess a sense of order, we usually do not feel able to present a sense of external mastery in our lives. We, therefore, use the confusion of others to create more room to do things in our own way, by frustrating others when they become too demanding. We believe that we need others to agree with us, before we can move forward in making any decision. Sometimes it can be taken to extremes by an unwillingness to discuss options until everyone is present or until we are all in consensus. When we feel trapped, we commonly and if possible covertly take unilateral action, which reveals our frustration at not being able to move forward. We can also create a project so big, that it never seems appropriate to move forward. The main problem with divergent imprinting is that we do not know when we will be able to make a better decision, so we frequently give up and just allow things to happen.

With divergent imprinting, we doubt we know what to do and when to do it. This second-guessing makes it extremely difficult for others to count on us. It also confuses us because we are naturally convergent under this superficial way of being which creates mixed messages about how we want to engage and move forward. As a result, others often feel frustrated that they cannot count on us to take action and make things happen. This is particularly true around others because when we are by ourselves, we are usually good at getting things done. What we seek is for others to acknowledge that we have their interest at heart and that we want to create the most powerful solution for all. We are most satisfied when others believe the process is fair, which ironically usually means everyone must compromise equally.

 

Switchable Imprinting

Switchable imprinting usually means that we feel the need to take an opposing viewpoint from our partners in order to balance out the process. In other words, if our partner wants something, we need to investigate it and propose a counter solution, which allows us to debate the merits of each option. We also tend to define how we decide things by the people, environment and time pressures in a particular situation. The result is that we end up going along with what others want, rather than clearly asking to be met the way it would work for us. We then end up with compromised, unconscious decision-making processes, which serve no one. The usefulness of this approach is that as we become more conscious of the various styles, we can more effectively influence outcomes to serve everyone. This requires that we not be attached to any particular outcome, and to be attached to systematically examining all the options before moving forward. Usually, this creates a sense of inertia and/or resistance from others when they are not clear about their own style and not conscious about to connect with different styles. Ironically, the more conscious we become, the more demanding we may appear to others about these choices. At least, engaging others in a more conscious way, keeps us from assuming the burden that we have to compromise ourselves to get anything to happen. Switchable imprinting can be most confusing (to ourselves and others) when we do not know where we are in the moment. We need to learn to practice examining our natural response to different situations, so we can begin to have greater fluidity in our decision making process.

This encourages us to constantly remind others that we are only doing this examination for the good of both of us. Our partner can react, believing that they are being sabotaged in a way that eliminates any sense of progress (especially if they have no switchable imprinting themselves). This can also lead to attempts to convince our partner to do what we want by subtlety reminding them of their weaknesses and how we are committed to being supportive of them. In return we would like them to be supportive of us in particular areas. The more we get caught up in this form of behavior (usually because it works to restore a sense of personal power) the more likely it will escalate into full-blown seduction pretenses. We can heal this by honoring our partner’s needs as well as our own and coming up with mutual solutions that work for both. It is also useful to break our personality attachments by serving our partners’ needs first as a practice of defensive healing, particularly when we have no substantial suggestions to make. What we want to accomplish is for them to know our commitment to mutually working in alignment as a team.

Decision Making Compatibility Considerations

When individuals have the same Approach, Decision Making can be easy for them. Unfortunately, many people make decisions on a Content sensitive basis. In other words, they develop confidence about making decisions in certain ways in certain situations. What makes this even more difficult is that many of us are trained to do our Decision Making the way our parents wanted us to do it. This creates confusion when what we believe is the right way to make a decision is frustrating. Until we get to a point where we can honor our own choices and get in flow with ourselves, it is impossible to align with others in a decision-making process. We keep falling into the trap of believing what we should do, which may be compromising our ability to be ourselves fully and to engage others fully.

Diagram 9, Decision Making Compatibility shows the challenges that exist when there are differences in Decision Making styles. It is important to honor that every person has a unique combination of Convergent/Divergent energy that defines his or her approach to solving problems. Problems occur when people do not have an understanding of the full range of natural decision-making approaches that can work in a given situation. In other words, we become focused on our way of doing things and do not accept that others could accomplish things just as effectively by doing them differently. We need to realize that Convergent and Divergent approaches are equally powerful and valid. The more we see one and discount the other, the more we are setting ourselves up for reactions and fear when others do not respond the way we expect. These issues arise more than we may realize because mutual problem solving is rare in business and relationships today.

An example of different Decision-making Approaches could be when two people are trying to decide which movie to see, at what time, and at which location. The Convergent person will first try to establish how much time they have to make the decision, to which the Divergent person usually objects. The Divergent Approach is to look at the entire list, and consider all the choices with all the times and locations. This will frustrate the focusing and prioritizing efforts of the Convergent person, who will tend to believe it is easier and much more efficient if the Divergent person would just name two or three movies which they can quickly look up.

This example provides a taste of the frustrations that can arise with differences in a relationship or business situation. These scenarios reflect different circumstances where individuals with differences have the power to make certain pre-agreed decisions to accomplish pre-determined objectives. For example, in a relationship, each party may have a certain amount of money they personally can use to spend on themselves. As part of this framework, they could also say that any expenditure over $500 must have the agreement of both partners. Making agreements up front about how circumstances will be managed, is one of the ways individuals can create safety and security particularly if they have different Decision Making styles.

In business, our superiors may have agreed on structures about how we are going to deal with certain problems, and when certain deviations from the structure occur, they expect us to report the problems back to them. In this situation, we could also establish agreed-on tolerance levels where, if certain conditions are exceeded, we automatically apply certain rules to either mitigate a loss or to maximize a gain. These structures reflect our safety and security needs, and as such, are defensive and proscriptive. They arise because of two simultaneous demands: the urgency of feedback (a Convergent perspective) and the importance of making an informed choice (a Divergent perspective).

When we are in conflict and unwilling to consider the differences of our partners (in relationships or business) we can end up hurting them by taking unilateral actions that discount their participation. In this process, we are covertly telling them that we will not be controlled and since the situation cannot be reversed without consequences, they are stuck with it. This can be seen when one partner goes out and buys clothes or a car without consulting the other. In business, this can happen when an individual gets very attached to an outcome and over-spends their budget. Sometimes these actions are a response to the way we were treated in our childhood. If no one listened to us then, it is easy to see how we might learn to take action without considering others now.

This issue ends up undermining everyone’s well-being by pre-empting, denying or discounting others’ choices. Everyone really wants a sense of participation in things that affect them, but many of us have blinders on regarding how willing we are for others to participate. Usually, this reflects the degree of fear we have, either that others will not listen to us, so we do things unilaterally, or the misconception that people with different status have more say. We see examples of this in many companies where each level of management is considered to have a greater prerogative than the level beneath it. Meaning, in effect, that management has a greater say over the process than the people implementing it.

When we can separate the implementation strategy from the right to make our own decision, we start to make choices that no longer need to be confirmed or affirmed by others. We will also not react to others’ implementation styles believing they are trying to limit our ability to choose. Maybe they are reacting unconsciously to our implementation style just as we have in the past. Knowing the difference between different implementation styles eliminates our assuming that a person’ wanting to do something differently from us means they do not care about us. Until we know the differences between Convergent and Divergent decision-making styles, we might not even recognize the differences between us and them. The opportunity now is to use this information to transform our approach with others so we develop healthy skills and behaviors that promote unity and clear expression.

Clearly Recognizing Our Decision-making Reactions

When we experience a reaction, it indicates we have triggered an internal fear that we won’t be able to live up to the expectations of others. We then create counter-beliefs or establish positions to offset these fears. People react to others by attempting to build positions so they can justify their greatness over others. In this process, we will attempt to explain why we have reactions to different Approach styles. It all comes down to differences in beliefs and opinions about what’s right. Due to our past compromises, we don’t want to be compromised anymore. We will begin with the process of why people with a similar decision-making Approach have reactions to each other.

1.    Open-Ended with Open-Ended Decision-maker. This has the greatest alignment as both partners can be extremely flexible and capable of working with each other.
2.    Convergent with Convergent Decision-maker. These individuals will likely be extremely good partners in any decision-making process. If any difficulties arise it is because of differences in the amount of Divergent imprinting each has.
3.    Divergent with Divergent Decision-maker. This combination is also extremely aligned and, again, the only problem that will arise is due to differences in the degree of Convergent imprinting.
4.    Variable with Variable Decision-maker. This combination is usually aligned with each other. The only problem that arises is the degree of flexibility of each individual and having one feeling they are caretaking the other that is less flexible. It is also likely that their Divergent, Convergent, or both imprinting may conflict with each other.
5.    Lost in Imprinting with another Lost in Imprinting Decision-maker. This combination is the most difficult because both individuals don’t have the flexibility or understanding about how to make decisions together. As a result, they would tend to do things independently and not consult their partners or business associates when possible. Ironically, since they are equally out of touch with themselves, they could have some degree of empathy with each other because they understand where the other person is operating from.
6.    Lost in Imprinting with Convergent Decision-maker. This combination has one of the greatest inherent conflicts of all the combinations. The Convergent decision-maker will typically feel superior to the Lost in Imprinting Decision-maker, because the Lost in Imprinting person will feel pressure to conform to the Convergent decision-maker. In this way, there is likely to be considerable role-playing and projection about how unfair the other person is.
7.    Lost in Imprinting Individual with Variable Decision-maker. While there may be some empathy and understanding between there two people, the Variable Decision-maker will likely be the one calling the shots. In this situation, the Variable person has to be more flexible and find ways of engaging the Lost in Imprinting individual to make it a worthwhile combination. Otherwise, the Lost in Imprinting individual will do their own thing without coordinating themselves with the Variable Decision-maker.
8.    Lost in Imprinting Individual with Divergent Decision-maker. This combination is not very good because the Divergent person has to be flexible, defining themselves in terms of the Lost in Imprinting person to generate any real results. Otherwise, the Lost in Imprinting person could become belligerent and confused by the differences in the way the Divergent person operates. This is because truly Divergent people are traditionally misunderstood in our society and not appreciated for their openness. A Lost in Imprinting person would feel the most out of place and not know how to engage a Divergent individual if the Divergent individual did not give them a framework in which to do so.
9.    Variable Individual with Divergent Decision-maker. This combination is fairly open and resourceful as long as the Variable person doesn’t have a tremendous amount of Convergent imprinting. Both individuals will feel able to engage each other and hold their own points of view. It is also likely they will treat each other as equals, which is very helpful in minimizing some of the imprinting reactions.
10.    Variable Individual with Convergent Decision-maker. This combination is fairly open and resourceful as long as the Variable person doesn’t have a tremendous amount of Divergent imprinting. Both individuals will feel able to engage each other and hold their own points of view. It is also likely they will treat each other as equals, which is very helpful in minimizing some of the imprinting reactions.
11. Variable Individual with Open-Ended Decision-maker. This combination is fairly conscious with a growth orientation. The major issues will be the “positionality” of the Variable person vs. the presence of the Open-Ended person. While this is sure to create some imbalance, the flexibility of the Open-Ended person will allow them to engage and bring out the capabilities of the Variable person for mutual decision-making. Ultimately, it is the degree of conflict within the Variable decision-maker that will make the process either enjoyable or painful for the Open-Ended Decision-maker. This will be the major issue about whether the Open-Ended Decision-maker wants to maintain the relationship with the Variable Decision-maker.
12.    Convergent Individual with Divergent Decision-maker. This is one of the most polarized combinations. While the relationship can be complimentary because they see each other’s weaknesses, there may be greater animosity because they don’t agree on much. This is because we both love and hate this individual at the same time. We love the fact that this person sees all the things we don’t see and we hate the fact that we feel we need them to compliment us. The clearer we become about the differences between Convergent and Divergent and see these issues as complementary ways to get things done, the less attached we need to be to be seen as right. This creates the opportunity to honor ourselves where we are and honor that others can contribute to the process as well.
13.    Convergent Individual with Open-Ended Decision-maker. This combination is also a growth process, particularly for the Convergent person, as they learn to engage things in a larger way. The big fear will be that dealing with too many things, simultaneously, may be overwhelming for the Convergent decision-maker, as they are more used to systematically simplifying their decision-making processes. While the Open-Ended decision-maker would automatically work within the limits of the Convergent Decision-maker, they might become resentful over time if the relationship was not evolving. What the Open-Ended person would be seeking is a greater degree of spontaneity and creative flow.
14.    Divergent Individual with Open-Ended Decision-maker. This combination is also a growth process, particularly for the Divergent person as they learn to engage things in a more systematic way. The big fear will be feeling that they lose themselves by focusing themselves on the basic elements, as they are more used to seeing the complexities of all the interactions. While the Open-Ended decision-maker would automatically work within the limits of the Divergent Decision-maker, they might become resentful over time if the relationship was not evolving. What the Open-Ended person would be seeking is a greater degree of depth and focus on implementation skills.

Page Author: 
© Copyright 2016, Larry Byram. All Rights Reserved.

Newsletter Subscription

Sign up now to get updates and event notifications, and you will immediately receive a Higher Alignment Mini Creative Assessment that summarizes the seven most important Compatibility Factors.

Go to top